A federal appeals court has ordered the dismissal of the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in a 2-1 ruling Wednesday, that the Justice Department’s decision to abandon the case against Flynn settles the matter, even though Flynn pleaded guilty as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to lying to the FBI.
The ruling was a significant win for the Justice Department and came as Democrats question whether it has become too politicized and Attorney General William Barr too quick to side with the president, particularly on the Russia probe.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had declined to immediately dismiss the case, seeking instead to evaluate on his own the department’s request. He appointed a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department’s position and to consider whether Flynn could be held in criminal contempt for perjury. He had set a July 16 hearing to formally hear the request to dismiss the case.
The appeals court ruled it was not within a judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine why it was overturned.